World Bank's loans policy under the microscope

7 September 2006

World Bank's loans policy under the microscope

At the urging of SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang, the Netherlands will support demands for an enquiry into the World Bank's loans policy in relation to developing countries. Irrgang, the party's spokesman on economic affairs, wants to see this enquiry focus on the co-responsibility borne by financial institutions for unlawfully incurred debts in developing countries.

Unlawful debts are the consequence of unlawful loans extended to undemocratic regimes by those lenders who knew or should have known that the money would be used in ways which went against the interests of the population of the country in question. If, for example, the World Bank loans money to a dictator which is then used in the oppression of the people of the country, these same people should not be saddled with the debt once the dictatorship has been overthrown. The SP has long demanded the eradication of such debts, from the effects of which millions of people continue to suffer. .

Ewout Irrgang“The Norwegian government has set aside $20,000 for an enquiry into the World Bank's former policy on loans," Irrgang explained. "I have asked our own government in the Netherlands to support such an enquiry. After some urging the Minister for Development Cooperation, Agnes van Ardenne, has promised to do so." Irrgang expressed his delight at this decision and added that he hoped that it would lead to complete debt forgiveness for developing countries.

During today's parliamentary meeting on the IMF and World Bank the issue of the IMF's policy of forcing privatisation was also discussed. “Our Minister for Development Cooperation always stressed the question of the ‘ownership’ of developing countries, by which she means that they must be the master in their own house. This turns out in fact to be nothing more than fine words because this morning she admitted to being in full support of the IMF's privatisations. Countries are being forced to sell off public sector concerns such as health care and energy supply and in view of the negative consequences of such privatisations of public services this is a matter of great concern to me."

You are here